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Amos 5.6-7,10-15; Psalm 90.12-17; Hebrews 4.12-16; Mark 10.17-31

Explore and respond

Adult & All Age

Explore and respond

Ways to engage different ages, spiritual styles and learning preferences

Ideas for a sermon or interactive talk

See also Thought for the week to read out in place of a sermon; and 'The week in focus', linking the readings to the news. 

  • I once knew a family with a disabled son who required constant care. To secure his future they sold up their home and raised money to establish a house in which he and a handful of other disabled people and carers could live securely. Although this is not a story about giving up everything to follow Jesus, is it perhaps an example of the kind of sacrifice Jesus speaks of, and also of the unintended (at the beginning) and positively wonderful consequences of doing so? Do you know other stories of people who have risked all for a different future?
  • Which is the true me? Most of us present ourselves carefully to God and the world. But if God knows us and loves us, why might trusting in him completely be such a risk? What if trusting all to God doesn’t diminish or restrict our lives but enhances them? So, what holds us back from committing totally to God? After all, God has committed himself completely to his creation and to us in Jesus’ death and resurrection.
  • Can a camel fit through the eye of a needle? (There is a fun YouTube clip that explores getting a camel through the eye of a needle.) The rich young ruler seemed to be doing everything he could to earn eternal life. He followed the laws and thought that the effort he put in and the way he lived his life would tick all of the boxes. But then Jesus said something that changed everything for him. A humorous comment (what might a modern equivalent be in your context?), but a serious message. What might get in the way of our entering the kingdom of God?
  • In this passage, people make choices. The rich young man chose to follow the laws for most of his life. He had another choice to make when Jesus suggested that he sell all he had in order to inherit eternal life. The disciples also made choices, as Peter points out towards the end of the passage, declaring that they (the disciples) left everything to follow Jesus. Jesus commended them, but that doesn’t mean eternal life is the result of completing a tick list of requirements. So, what is the answer? The real answer is back in verse 27: for humans it is impossible; only God can make it happen. And the real wise choice is to be in a right relationship with God by making Jesus a priority, and weighing up all other choices through the lens of the characteristics of Jesus and his lifestyle.
  • The Gospel passage ends with (another) statement reflecting the revolutionary nature of God’s kingdom, where the ‘first will be last, and the last first’. What would that look like in our church and society? How can we tell if we are genuinely living it?


Thought for the week

Read out in place of a sermon if you wish.

The story of the rich young man could be seen to be saying that rich people cannot have eternal life or a share in God’s kingdom. Jesus is quite clear in his direction: go and sell everything; and, of course, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ So, are all rich people doomed? And how rich is rich?  

Look a little more closely and we see that the man’s problem was not the fact that he had great wealth, but the importance this had in his life. Jesus’ directive to give up his riches was not a statement about wealth or even lifestyle per se; it was a challenge about what took priority in the man’s life. And that was his wealth. Although he wanted to inherit eternal life, and although he knew God’s commandments and the Law of Moses, his riches were more important to him.  

Why was this? Perhaps it was the status, security, comfort or power they gave him. But we needn’t dwell on that question, because again it is not those things of themselves that caused the problem. Whatever it was, it got in the way of his relationship with God. It prevented him developing or deepening that relationship. That is the challenge posed here. Whatever it is that gets in the way of developing or deepening our relationship with God is the equivalent for us of the rich man’s wealth. Will we take up the challenge to reflect on our lives and see if there is anything that qualifies?   

Having said that – and as good and important as such personal reflection and subsequent repentance is – there is something else we need to note from this passage. And that is the camel – the camel and the eye of a needle. We don’t need to explain it, it is a proverb. We just need to understand the concept: some things are just not possible. No one can earn the right to eternal life. The rich man stood no chance – and not because of his riches. It is not possible. 

Not possible for mortals, for humans, that is. But with God, all things are possible. Jesus’ words remind us that God’s kingdom is open to everyone who puts God at the centre of all they do – even though we know that this is, and always will be, work in progress! 


All age act of worship Session

Active worship

Play Buckaroo!™

A way to think about having too many burdens

  • Play a game of Buckaroo!™ If you don’t have, or can’t borrow the game, you could show part of a video demonstration (e.g. from 4:00 to 9:40, or 10:00 to 11:10).

    The game involves loading a horse with lots of different items until the horse ‘bucks’ and sheds all the items.

  • Like the rich man who came to Jesus, or the overloaded Buckaroo!™ horse, if we carry too much ‘stuff’ it may cause a problem. Invite people to spend a few moments thinking about whether there are things in their lives that are, or risk becoming, so important that they might get in the way of their relationship with God or developing this relationship further.
  • In small groups, invite people to discuss and share one or two ideas for keeping their lives in proper balance. W E A


A simple worship activity

A hymn-based opportunity for reflection and devotion

  • Choose one of these methods to present the hymn ‘Take my life and let it be’:
    – listen to a recording of a choir singing it.
    – display a video clip of the song with words projected.
    – speak the words with the tune playing in the background.
  • Choose one or more of these reflective or devotional activities:
    – give out paper and pens; invite people to respond by drawing any kind of image they wish.
    – give out play dough or modelling clay; invite people to make a model that represents something they would like to offer to God.
    – give out paper and pens; invite people to write down specific things from their own ‘riches’ (e.g. time, resources, skills) that they can offer to God. W E S A


Make a wise heart

Explore the things that fill our hearts.

 You will need: A4 paper, scissors, pencils; copies of the instructions ‘How to make an origami heart’.

  • Give everyone a sheet of paper and a copy of the origami instructions.
  • First, ask people to write down things they hold in their heart, e.g. God, family, relationships, things they are passionate about.
  • When they have finished, invite them to follow the instructions and make a heart. W E S A



Activity sheet 


 Drama: The man who has everything


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Drama: Jump the hurdles

Four people compete in the Eye of the needle hurdle race 


A drama for 7 people 

You will need: four runners:
1. Indigo Influencer holds a phone;
2. Amy Amigo;
3. Stevie Stuff-grabber has arms full of ‘stuff’, e.g. shopping bags/bulky items;
4. Bob has no props;
The race commentator
Amy’s two friends who are holding onto her arms

The four runners line up, as though on a starting line: the first and third runners holding their props, and the second holding the hands of two friends.  

Commentator: Ladies and gentlemen, here we have the competitors for the ‘Eye of the needle’ hurdle race, without a doubt, one of the toughest competitions here today. So, let’s take a look at our runners. In lane one, we are lucky enough to be joined today by social media sensation Indigo Influencer! Welcome to the race, Indigo! 

Indigo Influencer: (holds up a phone, mimes turning back to the audience to take a selfie) Thanks so much, it’s great to be here today! Group together everyone, selfie! 

Commentator: Well I guess it’s good to have some crowd participation! In the second lane, we have Amy Amigo, who appears to be joined by some friends today. Er…this isn’t a relay, Amy! 

Amy Amigo: Oh, I know, but I can’t do anything without my two best buddies! They go everywhere with me and what they think really matters to me. I ask them what they think I should do, all the time, I couldn’t possibly run this race without them! 

Commentator: I see, I think... Well in the third lane, we have Stevie Stuff-grabber. Well, I think we do, I can’t quite see him under all that stuff! Is that you, Stevie? 

Stevie Stuff-grabber: (struggling with all the things he is holding) Er…yes, it’s me, I’m here! 

Commentator: You do know this isn’t an obstacle course, Stevie? 

Stevie Stuff-grabber: Oh yes, I know. I just really NEED all this stuff, it’s all so precious to me! Look, I have my games console, my new jacket, the latest iPhone and all these books and DVDs. 

Commentator: Right, er…good luck with that! And finally, here in the inside lane, we have Bob, who seems to have nothing and nobody with him, how refreshing! 

Bob: (waves to the crowd and does a few stretches or jumps as though warming up) I’m ready to go! 

Commentator: Right everybody, quiet in the stalls as we’re under starter’s orders…and they’re off! 

All runners run on the spot, facing the audience, and mime tripping over the hurdles at the appropriate moments. 

Commentator: Here we go along the first leg of this race and as they approach the first hurdle, Stevie appears to have fallen straight away, I guess all that stuff stopped him from seeing his way – man down!  

Stevie Stuff-grabber mimes dropping all his bags and tripping at the first hurdle before sitting down with all his stuff on top of him.  

Bob appears to be edging ahead, but what’s going on with Amy? It seems her and her friends are not in agreement over the direction they should be going in. I’m not sure she’s even going to make it to the second hurdle.  

Amy Amigo mimes with her two friends, as each one pulls on her arms to try and make her go in the opposite direction.  

Indigo Influencer seems to be doing well but – wait a minute – I think they’re stopping for a selfie! Slow progress there, then.  

Indigo Influencer mimes stopping to take a selfie and taking a while to adjust their appearance.  

Meanwhile, Bob is making good time and Amy Amigo and her friends have finally reached the third hurdle, but what’s that? They seem to be tangled in the hurdle! She is out of the race and we’re down to two competitors. 

Amy Amigo mimes being continually pulled on the arms by her two friends, until they all fall down.  

Bob is in the lead, Indigo Influencer still seems more concerned with what’s on the screen than what’s in front and…well oops! That looked painful!  

Indigo Influencer mimes still trying to take a selfie before walking into the hurdle and being knocked down.  

Now it’s all eyes on Bob: Bob has both his eyes firmly on the course ahead of him and the finishing line, any second now…he has crossed the line, well done, Bob! We have a winner! Well done, Bob, you’ve successfully completed the ‘Eye of the needle’ hurdle race! 

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Children & Youth

Explore and respond

Activities marked with an asterisk  next to the activity title are in addition to the resources in the Ready to go sessions. Suggested timings for these activities are also shown. NB The inclusion of additional activities varies from week to week.



Very young childrens Session

Sensory basket

Play and think about what we treasure

Create a sensory basket full of ‘treasure’ for the children to explore. Include glittery cloth, tinsel, shiny ribbon, baubles, old CDs, toy coins, giant sequins, toy jewels.


Coin rubbings

Create an impression and think about money

Fix some coins to a table with sticky tac. Show the children how to make a coin rubbing using thick crayons on paper. Remind the children that Jesus asked the rich man to give up his money to follow him.


Very young childrens Session


Children's Session

Tunnel challenge                                                              E

Demonstrate how things get in the way of our relationship with God 

You will need: two large backpacks; various bulky items.

  • Split the children into two teams and invite the teams to make a ‘tunnel’, by standing in two lines and linking hands with the person opposite, up above their heads.
  • Give one child in each team an empty backpack, and the others in the line a bulky item.
  • Invite the child at the front to go through the tunnel with the empty backpack. As they run back to their team, they should hand the backpack to the next child in the line. They then add their item and go through the tunnel. The last child will have a very full backpack!
  • Challenge the group to see which team can get their whole team through first. Then think together about things that get in the way of our relationship with God, demonstrating how these things can hold us back.


What fills our hearts?                                                   E S

Illustrate what is important to us

You will need: heart template one per child, scissors, magazines, glue, pens/crayons.

  • Give each child a large heart shape and talk together about the things that fill our hearts or things that are important to us.
  • Ask the children to cut and stick pictures or draw and write the things that can fill our hearts. Explain that these things are all important and can take up lots of space, but ask them to leave some empty space for where God is in their heart.
  • Finally, ask them to draw/illustrate where God is in their heart.



Preview song, then buy online and download.

Reason, Unspoken on Reason

Find more suggestions on the Hymns, songs & music page.


Talk together and talk to God

Use these questions to discuss the Bible passage and then bring your thoughts together by praying to God.


Talk together

  • What things are really important to you?
  • What was the most important thing in the rich man’s life?
  • How can we work out what is most important to us?


Talk to God: Relationships prayer                                W E A

Think about how we maintain relationships

  • Ask the children to think about someone who is really important to them.
  • Discuss ideas about how they maintain their relationship with that person and pray about each one, e.g. they talk together: Dear God, help us to talk to you every day; or, they have fun together; Dear God, we ask you to bring us fun and joy in everything we do.
  • Talk about how we need to maintain our relationship with god in the same way we do with those around us.



Very young childrens Session
Childrens Session

Activity sheet 


Camel clip                                                  10 minsW E

Share and discuss this story   

You will need: animation of The camel through the eye of the needle story by Nick Butterworth, from his book Stories Jesus Told

  • Watch the video together.
  • Discuss the following questions:

What did you like best about this story?

What did Jesus mean that it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle?

I wonder what this means for us?



Young people Session

Get through together 10 minsE S

Bring alive the analogy Jesus uses in the passage   

You will need: a large back pack, several objects.

  • Invite the group to make a ‘tunnel’ by standing in two lines and linking hands with the person opposite, up above their heads.
  • One by one, ask the young people to go through the tunnel while wearing the backpack. But each time someone has a turn, add an object for one of the things listed above God/church from the Gather activity.
  • Discuss how some of these things might get in the way of our relationship with God.


What’s in your heart?  15 minsE S A

Explore what things we hold in our hearts

You will need: paper, pens; origami instructions.

  • Give each young person a piece of paper and ask them to write down things they hold in their heart. It could be God, family, relationships or something that they are passionate about, e.g. climate change.
  • Then ask them to follow the instructions and fold the paper into a heart.

 Play the track, ‘Holiness’, Sonicflood on SonicFlood, as the young people fold.   


Give it to God5 minsE S A

Examine possible blockages in our relationships with God 

You will need: origami hearts from What’s on your heart?

  • Ask the young people to pick up the hearts they made earlier.
  • Invite them to spend some time in silent prayer, giving over the things written in their hearts to God.

     Play the track, ‘Idols’, Kirk Franklin on LONG LIVE LOVE, as they do this.


Check-inConnecting faith with everyday, real-life issues 


Screen time                                                   10 minsE

Challenge yourself about your priorities  

  • Discuss how, each week on our phones, we get a screen time report, telling us the amount of time we spend on our phones every day and what activities we spend the most time on.
  • Ask the group the following questions: What does your screen time report say about you? How would you feel about other people seeing it? What is the equivalent of a screen time report for our hearts and minds? How would it reflect where our priorities lie?


 Drama: Jump the hurdles


Spiritual styles abbreviations
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Read our Spiritual Styles articles
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